5 Best Child Bike Seats for Mountain Biking: 2020
Mac Ride vs. Shotgun vs. Do Little vs. Tyke Toter
Whether you call them MTB child bike seats, front-mounted child bike seats, or off-road child bike seats, there’s a new style of seat gaining a ton of popularity. Unlike traditional front-mounted seats that mount to the bike’s headset, these seats are placed mid-way across a bike’s top tube and are therefore known as “mid-mounted” seats.
Mid-mounted child bike seats were born and bred in the mountain biking world, but are suitable for everything from full-suspension mountain bikes to hybrid and cruiser bikes. Due to their unique position on the bike, mid-mounted seats are particularly beneficial to more aggressive riders as they place the child’s body much closer to the adult rider’s body. They also allow you to carry much older kids than a standard front-mounted seat.
Whether you’re looking to tackle single track or just the neighborhood with your little nugget, there’s a mid-mounted child bike seat for you.
5 Best Child Bike Seats for Mountain Biking
Why We Love It
|Kids Ride Shotgun||Best Universal Fit: Mountain Bike||$150|
|Mac Ride||Easiest to Take On & Off: Mountain Bike||$199|
|Do Little||Best Universal Fit: Any Style Bike||$140|
|Tyke Toter||Easiest to Take On & Off: Standard Bike||$99|
|UrRider Seat||Honorable Mention||$99|
Best Universal Fit for Mountain Bikes
WEIGHT LIMIT: 48 lbs.
MOUNTING LIMITATIONS: Should not be used on bikes without a front suspension fork. Fits bikes with top tubes 35 – 68mm wide and down tubes from 35 – 100mm wide.
FEATURES: Soft, padded saddle, optional mini-handlebars, footrests (not height-adjustable)
FULL REVIEW: Kids Ride Shotgun
If you’re planning on introducing your little one to the trails, the Shotgun is your best bet. Mountain bike frames come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and the Shotgun seat will likely fit them all. It can even be adjusted to fit bikes with wider tubing.
As a result, the Shotgun is also one of the easiest and fastest seats to mount. Unlike other seats, the mounting brackets below the seat can rotate independently of the seat, which greatly increases its ability to adjust to fit various styles of frames. Reinstallation is also pretty quick and easy, but the seat will have to be re-adjusted when mounting to a new bike.
Another benefit of the Shotgun is the optional mini handlebars for kids (shown in the pic above). Some kids love having their own handlebars as it gives them their own place to hang on, while also keeping their hands off your grips.
In the end, however, using the mini handlebars comes down to personal preference as most kids have no problem holding onto your handlebar next to the stem.
As compared to other seats, the Shotgun saddle offers more padding which is great for little bums, but for some bikes, that thick padding can cause the riders to sit slightly higher on the frame as compared to other mid-mount seats.
- Padded, adjustable saddle
- Easy, straightforward installation
- Adjustable straps on footpegs to keep kids’ feet secure (or looser if you prefer)
- Optional mini-handlebars
- Rider sits higher up as compared other seats
- Footrest height not adjustable
Easiest to Take On and Off: Mountain Bikes
WEIGHT LIMIT: 60 lbs.
MOUNTING LIMITATIONS: Mounts to seat post and headset. Bike must have a 10mm spacer on the steer tube that can be swapped out for the 10mm mounting spacer. A 1 1/8″ diameter spacer is included but spacers are available down to 1″ in diameter. Other less common limitations listed on Mac-Ride.com
FEATURES: Seat shape that cradles the child in place, adjustable foot rests, optional mini handlebar grips
FULL REVIEW: Mac Ride
If you need the ability to quickly and easily attach and remove a seat from your bike (or swap it between bikes), the Mac Ride is king. While its initial installation takes longer than others, once the mounting components are installed, the Mac Ride can be removed in seconds.
Although the Mac Ride does attach to the seat post of the bike, it’s compatible with dropper posts. The clamp just needs to be attached below the moving portion of the seat post.
The unique cradling “u-shaped” saddle of the Mac Ride was a big hit with our testers as it helped to keep riders firmly on the saddle during more aggressive rides. The Mac Ride does not offer mini handlebars, but it does offer optional small grips that you can mount on the inside of your grips. The Mac Ride is also the only seat on this list that offers a height-adjustable footrest.
The Mac Ride will also easily adjust to fit any style of bike, but compared to the Shotgun and the Do Little, on a bike with a steeply sloped top tube, the child rider will sit much higher on the Mac Ride as compared to the Shotgun or the Do Little.
- Can be quickly and easily removed from any bike
- Easy to swap from one bike to another (additional installation piece needed for each bike)
- Feet secured in place with height adjustable foot rests
- Optional mini handlebar grips
- Saddle offers less padding than other seats
- Child sits higher on the bike as compared to other seats, which can be problematic for those who ride with their seat post almost bottomed out
Best Universal Fit for Any Style Bike
WEIGHT LIMIT: 61.8 lbs.
MOUNTING LIMITATIONS: Fixed width, but easily mounts to any bike with a top tube less than 2″ wide
FEATURES: Soft, padded saddle, footrests (non-adjustable), kid handlebars or grips not available
FULL REVIEW: Do Little Seat
While the Do Little is just as capable on mountain trails as the Shotgun, it also comes with an adapter to make it comfortably fit non-mountain bike style frames such as step-through women’s frames and cruisers. As a result, if you’re looking for a seat that you can use on all the ponies in your stable, the Do Little is the seat for you.
The Do Little also has a higher weight capacity than the Shotgun, so while you likely aren’t going to take your 5 or 6 year-old mountain biking on a mid-mount seat, you could certainly cruise around town with them on the Do Little.
The initial installation of the Do Little is much more challenging than the Shotgun, but once the mounting bracket is set, it’s pretty easy to remove and re-install the seat.
Another major difference between the Shotgun and the Do Little is the footrest designs. The Shotgun has a footrest with an adjustable strap, while the Do Little does not. Do Little intentionally made their footrest “loose” so that a child’s foot could easily detach from the footrest in the event of crash. (This is a point of discussion for many riders, which we explain further below.)
- For many bikes, allows kid rider to sit slightly lower on the frame
- Sturdy metal foot rails to prevent slipping feet from hitting the front tire
- Comes with two mounting brackets to allow installation on a wide variety of bikes, even cruisers
- Initial installation can be very tricky and time consuming
- Child does not have their own handlebar
Easiest to Take On and Off: Standard Bikes
WEIGHT LIMIT: None
MOUNTING LIMITATIONS: Must have 1.75″ of clearance on the seat post for the bike seat to mount to. If the adult’s saddle is set low on the frame, it will have to be raised to use the Tyke Toter.
FEATURES: Wide saddle, integrated kids’ handlebars, small footpegs
FULL REVIEW: Tyke Toter
The Tyke Toter is our top choice for everyday use around town. Easily attached to the seat post of a bike, the Tyke Toter quickly mounts to almost any bike! Those who ride with their seat bottomed out, however, will have to raise their seat about 1.5″ in order to install the Tyke Toter.
Unlike the previous seats on this list, the Tyke Toter’s handlebar is integrated into the seat itself, so those little hands always have a place to land. The placement of the handlebars is close to the child’s seat, however, making the child sit more upright since they aren’t stretching to reach the handlebars.
As a result, the child on the Tyke Toter can take up a considerable amount of the adult rider’s cockpit, which is one of the reasons why we wouldn’t recommend the Tyke Toter for aggressive riding. While the Tyke Toter can certainly be taken on mild trails, it really excels for casual, paved bike rides.
The footrest on the Tyke Toter consists of a small plastic peg that straps onto the down tube of a bike. The pegs are pretty small and don’t have a strap, so the potential for a foot slipping is certainly there.
- Fast and easy to remove or switch between bikes
- Child has their own handlebars, keeping their hands free of your handlebars
- No weight limit
- Won’t fit if your seat post is at the minimum seat height
- Footpegs lack a strap to secure feet in place
- Seat shape isn’t as comfortable for lengthy rides
AGE RANGE: Up to 6 years old, 4′ tall
MOUNTING INFO: Mounts quickly and easily to seat post, while also resting on the top tube. Must have 1.5″ of space on the seat post to mount, or the seat will have to be raised.
FEATURES: Ventilated seat, adjustable, grippy handlebars for kids, footrest angle is adjustable
As one of the top-selling child bike seats on Amazon, we wanted to include the UrRider in our testing to see how it stacked up against the other four mid-mount child bike seats on our list.
For just $99, the UrRider is a decent-quality seat, and the mounting process is super easy. We also appreciate that the angle of the child’s handlebar is adjustable to allow you to choose for your child to sit more upright or more leaned forward.
While similar to the Tyke Toter because it attaches via the seat post, the front of the UrRider actually rests against the top tube for added stability. This also prevents the seat from pivoting to the sides like can happen with the Tyke Toter (depending on the diameter of your seat post.)
On the flip side, the UrRider’s seat design isn’t as adult-rider-friendly as the other mid-mount seats. The saddle is very wide and is placed much closer to the adult. For both narrow-thighed and muscular-thighed mom testers, we had an issue with our thighs rubbing against the seat.
Additionally, the design of the metal footrests makes it possible that they may hit and scratch your down tube. This could easily be solved with a small piece of rubber tape.
The UrRider comes in two different versions – one to accommodate most standard bikes (hybrids, mountain, etc.), and the other for e-bikes, folding bikes, and other bikes with very steeply sloped top tubes.
If you have an e-bike or a bike with a very steep top tube, the UrRider is a good option to consider if you can get it for under $100.
How to Choose the Best MTB Child Bike Seat
There are many different factors to consider when purchasing an MTB child bike seat. While there currently aren’t a lot of mid-mounted seat options, the best seat for you depends on a handful of factors. Having tested out these seats with our crew of mini testers on various bikes, here’s our breakdown of what you need to look for when determining the best mid-mount seat for your child and your bike.
Riding Style – Mountain or Casual
Mid-mount child bike seats were originally designed and created for mountain bikers. The main benefits of mid-mount seats are that they place the child lower on the frame and more centered on the bike as opposed to traditional front and rear-mounted seats. As a result, the additional weight of the child is much more in-line with the adult rider, making the bike and the child feel more stable, especially on more aggressive terrain.
Another benefit of mid-mount seats is their simplistic nature. They allow kids to experience riding front and center without the often complicated fit and bulkiness of traditional child bike seats.
As a result, their popularity has also carried over to the causal biking world as well. From dropping a little one off at preschool to enjoying a family ride around the neighborhood, mid-mount seats have their place off the mountain as well.
Before selecting a seat, it’s essential that you determine what type of riding you plan on doing most of the time. Also keep in mind that seats designed specifically for mountain biking (Shotgun, Mac Ride, Do Little) can work great for casual riding, but seats designed for casual use (Tyke Toter and UrRider) are not recommended for mountain biking.
Mountain Biking Use
The Shotgun, Do Little and Mac Ride were all designed specifically for mountain biking. Consisting of merely a seat and a footrest, they are small and compact so as to not take up very much space on the bike.
All three are designed to keep the child’s weight as low on the bike and as close to the adult’s center-of-gravity as possible. Just keep in mind that your child is not strapped into the seat in any way, so they will need to be old enough to hold firmly to the handlebars while riding (and not try to turn around to grab you!).
We have personally tested out all three seats and can say they all perform great on the trails, but each seat has its own unique benefits.
The Shotgun is the best seat for you if:
- You want the thickest padded seat for your little grom
- You want your child to have their own handlebars
- Your bike’s top tube is wider than 2″
The Do Little is the best seat for you if:
- You plan on using the seat with other bike styles, such as a cruiser or bike with a step-through frame
- You want the child to sit as low as possible on the frame. On most mountain bikes, the Do Little sits slightly lower than the others.
The Mac Ride is the best seat for you if:
- You plan on switching the seat between two or more bikes regularly
- You want adjustable height footrests
All of the seats we listed above will work for casual riding, but the Tyke Toter and the UrRider are better suited for casual riding. Both seats are bulkier and include integrated handlebars for the child. On the flip side, they are easy to mount and are more affordable.
The Tyke Toter is the best seat for you if:
- You are concerned about child’s weight (it has no weight limit!)
- You want a seat you can quickly and easily swap between bikes
The U-Rider is the best seat for you if:
- You want an adjustable handlebar or have an e-bike
Frame Design with Casual Use
If you plan on using either the Do Little, Shotgun or Mac Ride on “non-mountain bikes” be sure to be aware of their limitations.
The Shotgun is only compatible on bikes with front suspension forks, so it won’t work on most cruisers.
The Mac Ride mounts between the headset and the seat post, so the seat’s placement is independent of the slope of the top tube. However, with bikes with deeply sloped top tubes or step-through frames, it eliminates your ability to step through the frame.
The Do Little includes an adapter to allow it to easily mount to these different styles of bikes, which not only allows the seat to sit lower on the bike, but makes getting on and off the bike much easier for the adult.
Do Little versus Mac Ride
Size and Age of Child
The size and age of the child rider will greatly affect everyone’s riding experience on a mid-mount child bike seat. Unlike front and rear-mounted child bike seats, with mid-mount seats the child is not strapped in. As a result, the child needs to be old enough to hold on tight and remain relatively still during the ride. On the flip side, older children can hold on tight, but will certainly take up more of the adult rider’s space.
We’ve tested mid-mounted seats on kids ages 2 to 8 and have found that age 3 and 4 tend to be the sweet spot for both child and adult riders.
3, 4, and 6-Year-Olds
Size of the Adult Rider
The size of the adult rider should also be taken into account when buying a mid-mount seat. A taller and/or larger-framed adult on a large size bike will always have more space and likely be more comfortable using a mid-mount seat as compared to a smaller adult on a smaller bike.
Cockpit Space Difference: 5’2″ and 5’11” Adult Rider
The height at which the adult rider’s seat post is positioned also plays a role in the comfort level of the riders. In most cases, the higher the adult seat is set on the bike, the more room the adult rider will have.
If the adult rider’s seat is set at the lowest position on the bike, they are going to feel very cramped while riding. In some cases (especially the Tyke Toter), the adult rider will need to raise their seat in order to use a mid-mount child bike seat.
Higher Set Adult Saddles = More Space for Adult & Child
When riding mid-mount child bike seats, kids typically hold on to the adult’s handlebars while riding. With your hands gripped to the end of the bar, there is usually plenty of space for the child to place their hands between yours.
The Shotgun and the Tyke Toter, however, have mini handlebars for the child to hold onto (Shotgun’s are optional). In our experience, the Shotgun’s mini handlebars are fun, but don’t play a significant role in determining which seat is best for you as kids didn’t seem to miss having their own handlebars when they weren’t there.
For the Tyke Toter, the handlebars do put the child in a much more upright position than any of the other mid-mount child bike seats.
The footrest on mid-mount child bike seats vary from a single peg to a height-adjustable footrest with straps. While just a minor point to consider, it’s still best to be aware of the seat’s footrest design prior to purchase.
The smallest footrest of all the seats is found on the Tyke Toter. The footrest peg is attached to the down tube and does not provide any straps to secure the child’s feet. Our bigger testers did have trouble keeping their larger feet on the pegs, but younger/smaller testers did just fine. To accommodate for age, the footrest can be placed anywhere along the down tube of the bike.
The footrests on the Do Little, Shotgun, and Mac Ride all extend down from the seat mount and rest of the sides of the down tube. The Mac Ride’s footrest is the only one of the three that is adjustable for height. The Mac Ride and the Shotgun also have rubberized straps that can be adjusted to fit closely against the child’s foot.
The Do Little’s footrest is a fixed metal bar that cannot be adjusted. The “loose” design of the Do Little’s footrest is to allow the child’s foot to easily be released from the footrest in the event of a crash. Do Little’s belief is that it is better to have the child easily separated from the bike versus potentially having their leg or foot tweaked by the footrest.
Of the three, the Mac Ride footrest was our favorite as it offered the most adjustability.
11 Best Child (Baby) Bike Seats: If you’re not sold on mid-mount, check out our favorite front, rear, and mid-mounted seats.
Child Bike Seats: Comparison Chart: To view, sort, and read reviews on ever more bike seats.
10 Best Bike Trailers: Another great way to bring kids along for the ride!